Are Salads Truly Weight Loss Food?
It might be a shocker for many people, but not all salads are good for weight loss food. The modern-day fitness industry has created this aura around salads, claiming that salads are the “ideal health food”. Not only this is not the case for many types of salads, but this approach also hurts people who eat salads genuinely trying to lose weight, only to see no results.
In this article, I will tell you about 3 steps to make your salads healthier and actually help you with weight loss. But before talking about ways to fix the problem, let’s figure out what the problem is – what makes many weight loss salads unhealthy?
“Salad” is not a specific term – the term “salad” unites under its name a variety of different foods, all of which claim to be salads. For example, pasta with some fresh vegetables in it isn’t called pasta anymore – it’s salad! Now, I am not saying that there is anything negative about it – there isn’t. What is problematic though is the common perception of a salad as being a “weight loss food”.
So, here are 3 steps you can take to make sure that your salad will actually be healthy.
3 Ways to Fix your Salad
1. Check your Dressing
I did not think twice when picking the first step anyone should take when checking whether their salad is an actual weight loss food because a dressing can turn any low-calorie salad into a real calorie bomb. People often make dressings the Gordon Ramsey way – after saying “just a dash of olive oil” they proceed to pour in half a cup of oil. This ends up adding up to a whole lot of fat you need not add to your salad.
Now, don’t get me wrong, olive oil is an amazing food. However, if your goal is to lose weight or not gain weight you should be pretty conservative with your oil use since fat is the most calorie-dense macronutrient.
Another thing to look out for in dressings is sugar. Whenever you buy pre-made dressing, it is good practice to flip the bottle and go through the nutritional value to understand what exactly you will be putting in your salad. More often than not, you will be shocked to discover just how many calories are in most store-bought dressings.
It is best to make your own dressing. You control the calories and the taste and get to experiment with different ways to make it taste good. I recommend you start by using vinegar/lemon juice, salt, and spices, as these barely contain any calories. If you are planning to use oil or any other high-calorie ingredient, a good idea would be to weigh or measure how much of it you are actually using so you don’t go overboard with calories.
2. Remove High-Calorie Ingredients
I know this might come as a shocker to some people, but if you take a high-calorie, low-volume product such as bread and dry it and put it into a salad calling it “croutons”, it doesn’t magically lose all of its calories. Don’t be fooled – croutons are not widely considered to be an effective weight loss food.
The same logic applies to any other ingredient put in salads. For me, salads are about high volume and low calories – using low-calorie ingredients such as cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, lettuce, and bell peppers. This is also why I avoid putting high-calorie nuts, potatoes, and raisins in my salads, although they are delicious – volume-wise, your stomach doesn’t feel any difference between the same-sized tomato or potato, you will feel full whenever you consume a certain amount of food regardless of the type of food that it is.
Mixing in grains such as quinoa into your salad might also jack up the total calories, without adding much volume to the food. If you want to read about quinoa and its effects on weight loss, check out this amazing article exposing quinoa as a potentially fattening food!
However, if you want your salads to be more than just simple, boring vegetables and still be healthy, there is also a way to do that.
3. Add Protein to Your Salad
If you are living a healthy lifestyle, chances are you are consuming protein anyway. Not only is combining protein with your salad a great way to make your salad more interesting, but it will also make it more filling, as protein is the most filling macronutrient.
This also takes care of another problem you get when you eat salads – flavor fatigue. More often than not, when eating salads in order to fill up on food, I get tired of eating the same vegetables bite after bite.
Salads are not the quintessential weight loss food – they will be what you make them be. However, if made correctly, they can be a great High Volume Low-Calorie dish to include in your diet. This is why it is important to pay attention to the details during diets and not just simply follow vague social conceptions that something is necessary “a healthy food”,
Living a healthy lifestyle means (among other things) understanding what is going into your body, and what effect will it have on you. This is why living in the world of vague conceptions, like the opinion that “salads are good for weight loss”, can be so detrimental to your weight loss journey. So if that is your case, the 3 steps listed above will help you in improving your progress in losing weight.